Step Three: Develop good habits
We will talk much more about this in the section on Self-Discipline, but good habits are building blocks that will get you to where your personal development plan, that we built in step one, is heading.
The first thing to focus on when starting to develop good habits is to remove bad ones, and one of the worst habits is creating excuses.
Excuses are like layers to an onion, once you peel one excuse back, you find a new bad habit every time you look closer.
If you turn in a report at work that’s full of typos and has errors that should have been caught, the excuse is “I only had 3 hours to write the report.”
If we peel that back, we see that you weren’t assigned the project at 1 pm, to present at 4 pm – you just failed to properly manage the much longer time you actually had for the project – and it’s very likely there was more than enough time.
Now the question is “why is your time managed so poorly?”
Are you staying up late watching TV, that leaves you scrambling the morning the report is due?
Are you not serious about the job, leading to sloppy work?
Are you blaming other people for your failures?
Either way, the burden of responsibility is on you and as long as you fail to hold yourself accountable, these mistakes are going to keep piling up.
You’ll continue to disappoint yourself, and you’ll continue failing to reach your goals in the personal development plan we outlined earlier in the chapter.
The good news is that you can turn it all around. It’s not easy for some people to honestly reflect on the causes of their problems, but it’s the most important work that you can do.
Now we’re self-aware of where we are, and now we’re holding ourselves accountable for how we got there. In the next chapter, we’ll discuss what comes after that.